After spending last season on loan at Celta Vigo, Southampton winger Sofiane Boufal is now back playing on the south coast, eager to break into Ralph Hasenhuttl’s starting XI on a regular basis.
The Moroccan wide man has made seven appearances for the Saints this term, assisting twice, but watched on from the sidelines as his team were well beaten by Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, coming on in the final stages of a 4-1 defeat at St Mary’s.
Throughout the summer, Boufal was heavily linked with a move away from the south coast of England, mainly back to Ligue 1 – the division he made his name in while playing for Lille.
However, instead of taking what he describes as the “easy way out”, Boufal opted to remain at Southampton to prove that he can cut it in the Premier League.
Speaking to Canal Plus (via Sport Witness), the North African said: “I’m a fighter. I’m not someone who’s going to leave and choose the easy way out. That easy way out was a return to France in a club that absolutely wanted me. I wanted to fight here and prove to people I can make it in the Premier League. I’m ambitious.
“The manager [Hasenhuttl] didn’t know me, so I had everything to prove. I really listened to his advice and orders. I think I’ve now integrated his team because I’ve also learned his philosophy.
“I have confidence, and what’s most important for a player is to keep that confidence. We know that in football, things can change really quickly, and what’s most important is to have a good season”.
The 26-year-old appears to have the right attitude – proven by his comments above. He could’ve left during the summer, taken the easy option and return to France, but he didn’t.
Now, the Saints must repay his loyalty by giving him a fair chance of first-team action; it could pay off for the club, especially considering how poorly they’ve been performing in recent weeks.
Indeed, after that 4-1 defeat to Chelsea at home, they could definitely do with some fresh impetus.
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